Eternal Rider

2011 was an awesome year for finding new authors I’d never read before. Larissa Ione is the latest in a great list and is now firmly one of my favourites.

I loved the premise of the Lords of Deliverance series; Four siblings, born of a demon and an angel, almost brought the ancient world to ruin and as punishment, were cursed to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Technically it’s three horsemen and one horsewoman which was actually another facet I loved.  The end of days will come but how soon depends on if the seals they were cursed with are broken.  They fight on the side of good as long as their seals remain intact but should the unthinkable occur, they turn evil and will side with the bad guys, unleashing the full terrible force of their natures.

As this was the first book by Larissa Ione I’d read, I didn’t realise this series is actually a companion set from her main one called The Demonica.  This also explains why I felt some names or characters were important and should have some deeper meaning for me.  It didn’t spoil my enjoyment of Eternal Rider though and just made me want to catch up on the other series.

I loved the way Ione smacks you right in the face with one of the Horsemen’s seals breaking, just as you started liking him.  It was just enough that you hope the remaining three and their uneasy allies can find a way to restore him before he destroys everything.

This book is Ares/War’s story and I absolutely loved it.  Ares is a complex character with layers to his personality and can be quite a scary individual.  Even as Ares, he is drawn to battle and tries to keep to himself as his mere presence can cause fights to break out.  A lonely immortal existence but one he accepts for his part in the ancient war that nearly brought the world to its knees.

Cara is a human that I could identify with instantly, having a love of animals that borders on the paranormal.  On the verge of bankruptcy and mourning the death of her father, she still can’t turn away an injured dog that was run over.  She has the ability to heal animals and was her calling in her father’s vet practice, but lost all confidence in herself.  Discovering the dog had been shot catapults her into a confusing world where nothing is as she thought it was, least of all that the dog was actually a Hellhound and now bonded to her.

Both characters brought something different to the book and made it whole, even with the large supporting cast.  I loved their interplay and interactions, often making me laugh as Cara is feisty and definitely a modern woman.  It was a pleasure seeing them grow in personality, both individually and as a couple.  They complement each other perfectly and also made for some very hot scenes.  You may need a fan if you are a blusher!

The pace of the story was fast, often with no let up and the action scenes were exciting and well written.  I was so engaged, I couldn’t put the book down and by the end I felt breathless.  The teaser for book two at the end had me reaching for it and am very thankful I had it waiting!

A really interesting and exciting take on the Four Horsemen mythos and a series I can’t wait to read the rest of!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Larissa Ione
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Shadow Kiss

Being a guardian to her best friend Lissa Dragomir, after graduation, is all Rose Hathaway ever wanted.  The psychic bond between them, gained when Lissa brought Rose back
from the dead, might be the perfect tool to protect her, but at what
cost?  Torn between the forbidden love for her tutor Dimitri Belikov and the
role of protecting her best friend, Rose might be forced to choose
between them.  When the unthinkable happens and undead vampires invade the Academy,
Rose goes above and beyond the call of duty and fights with everything
she has in her.  Will it be enough to save those she loves the most?

Shadow Kiss has a much darker feel to it than the first two books in the Vampire Academy series.  A natural and necessary progression I think, due to the way book two finished.  It was great to be able to start straight in on this novel and I felt it was all the more poignant for it.

Rose is once again the focal character and I have to say I absolutely love her.  She matures rapidly throughout this book due to both her experiences in Frostbite, and the trials she has to go through in this one.  She kicks butt with the best of them but I did fear she was starting to come apart at the seams.  I couldn’t help but feel for her as she tries to cope with her guilt, desire, responsibilities and dedication to Lissa on top of being in her final year as a novice guardian.

There are some interesting revelations about Lissa’s abilities and their bond, and Rose learns more about what it means to be shadow kissed and its repercussions.  Lissa is dealing with her own feelings, of being in an adult relationship, being the last living Dragomir and having to be wary of the schemes the Queen seems to be cooking up for her.  They both grow a little distant from each other which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but with their bond you know they will never truly be apart.

From their group of friends, characters are starting to stand out on their own; Lissa’s boyfriend Christian, Adrian who makes no bones about wanting Rose, and Eddie, steadfast, loyal and dependable.  All of them play a huge role in making this series as good as it is.  Then there is the forbidden and gorgeous Dimitri.  I can’t help it, I love him too!

The pace felt a little different in Shadow Kiss, starting almost slowly and then as certain events happened, it got kicked up a gear until the end.  And by the end, wow.

The story, complemented by that exciting pace, was just amazing.  Emotional, compelling, passionate and painful, you felt every ounce of it in the writing.  As crisp, clear and easy to read as the first two, but with two very intense scenes that just blew me away, each for very different reasons.  I was in tears for one of them, make of that what you will!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)